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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Augustana chapter.

Disclaimer; The following article contains content of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Please remember your own well being is more important than an article. 


I carry the title “Survivor”  with pride 

Survivor of sexual assault 

Survivor of domestic violence 

When you look at me 

You’d think I have a perfect life, but I don’t  

Chapters I keep hidden with a lock and key

Things I don’t express outwardly 

I am a survivor 

I was 8, worried that he would snap and go to far or that she would not stop when I said no

But I do not hold silence in my heart 

Because I survived

I survived 

I survived 

But I’m still haunted by the old film rolling in my mind 

Rewind it 10 years time 

I have guilt, because some parts of me still believe that I deserved it


I would do anything to protect someone, to make it known that they are not alone 

Because I felt alone

For a long time, I felt like a victim of these things, but I have to come terms that I survived

Every word, every hand, and every threat that came my way 

I survived 

And unlike before, I am in control of my life. 

-Keela Sawyer 

  October is domestic violence awareness month. I don’t talk about it much, but I am a survivor of domestic violence.  This is such an important time to raise awareness about unhealthy relationships, and what is considered abusive or toxic. Here are a couple of things that would be considered abusive in a relationship. Please remember that a relationship does not have to be romantic. It could be with a family member or even a friend. 

Domestic violence can be physical abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, sexual coercion, financial abuse, stalking, reproductive coercion, and so on. 

It is important to be educated on the signs of domestic violence. Common signs include; showing jealousy when you spend time away from them, acting one way in private and completely different in public/ around others, discouraging spending time with loved ones, insulting you, preventing you from making your own decisions, controlling your finances, pressuring you into sexual activity, pressuring you into substances, destroying your belongings, imitating you with weapons, or threatening to harm or take away your children/pets, threatening you (even if they are only threats and not actions), physically harming you, gaslighting you, etc. 

You are not alone. Whether you are a survivor or a victim of domestic violence or abuse of any kind, it was not your fault. Sometimes the best thing to do for survivors is believing them. 

There are people who care and who are willing and ready to help you. Whether you’re escaping a situation, need to process, or anything else you might need, there are resources and people in your community that are there for you.


-National DV Hotline: 800-799-7233 

-Text line: “START” to 88788

-StrongHearts Native Helpline at 844-762-8483 (call or text)

-National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) 

Call: (800) 537-2238

Or connect with them online at https://www.nrcdv.org

– Connect with 

-Follow Augustana’s Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Office on Instagram, 


Augustana Counseling Services:  https://www.augustana.edu/student-life/student-counseling-serviceInternational Crisis Hotlines:  https://blog.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines/

Keela Sawyer

Augustana '27

Hi I'm Keela (They/Them) and I am a freshman at Augustana College! I am majoring in Public Health and WGSS, as well as minoring in Psychology and Disability Studies. I am on the writing/editing team and the social media team in the HerCampus Augustana chapter. Alongside HerCampus, I also participate in YDSA, TRIO, AAE, GSA, and WAUG. In my free time I enjoy writing poetry, making art, and hanging out with my friends around campus. I hope you enjoy my work!